While most of the G4tv.com staff spent time upgrading their iPhones to OS 3.0 with great excitement, it was revealed that a group of U.S. Senators sent a letter to the FCC complaining about the exclusivity agreement AT&T enjoys with Apple. The Senators are part of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. According to PC World:
"The letter, which is signed by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), expresses concern that handset exclusivity arrangements may be anticompetitive and reducing consumer choice in the marketplace.
It's interesting to note that some concerns spelled out by the senators sound like they're a direct reaction to recent complaints over AT&T's status as the exclusive U.S. provider for Apple's iPhone. When last week Apple announced launch details for iPhone OS 3.0, AT&T was the target of scorn over delays to supporting the iPhone's new tethering and MMS capabilities. In the past, AT&T has also been accused of having spotty 3G coverage in rural areas."
Considering Apple's history of Machiavellian tactics, it wouldn't surprise me if it funded the letter and the actions behind it. (Just kidding.)
Personally, I hate all the exclusives and subsidies that are prevalent in the American mobile-phone market. I wish things were more open, like in numerous Asian and European countries. I think the iPhone is a damn impressive piece of consumer of electronics, but I also think AT&T's network is a damn piece of excrement. AT&T's service is so poor in the areas I work, play, and visit that there's no way I'd get an iPhone...as long as it's exclusive to that network.
On the other hand, this is another example of government officials wasting time on stupid problem. Homelessness, hunger, poverty, and health care are exponentially more important things to focus on than some hack carrier having exclusivity on an excellent phone. Besides, Apple's actions and the rumor mill indicate that iPhone exclusivity won't be an issue in 2010.
What do you ladies and gentlemen think? Are exclusivity deals a healthy part of a capitalist market? Or is Kerry's crew right in wanting to socialize (*snicker*) the mobile-phone market?